Monday, July 1, 2019

Captain Cannon: Later Years and Family Matters

Birth of John Cannon

            John Cannon was born on April 21, 1802, but the parish records record, about 20 months later, on December 9, 1803, that “John Son of George Cannon & Leonora Callister [was] rec[eive]d into the Congreg[aton].” John was likely baptized at home shortly after his birth.

Peel Company of Northern Manks Volunteers

           On October 31, 1803, an inspection was made of the Peel Company of the Northern Manks (also spelled Manx) Volunteers.  Thomas Clarke, a High-Bailiff, is listed as Captain, Alex. Murray, Customs, as Lieutenant and Hugh Clucas, merchant, as Ensign. Among the 83 listed privates at that time is George Cannon.[1] The Northern Manks Volunteers were commanded by Lieutenant Colonel J. F. Crellin of Orrisdale and Major Robert Farrant of Ballamoar and consisted of about 400 men in six companies, including Michael, Ballaugh, Andreas, Bride and Ramsey, in addition to Peel. Each member of the company was provided with a musket, bayonet and scabbard, a cartouce and cross-belt, a sling, two flints and ten rounds of ball cartridges. They were clothed in red, except for the corps of artillery which could have blue clothing and each private had to take an “oath of allegiance and fidelity to his Majesty the King.” 
In July 1804, the Duke of Atholl inspected the Northern Manks Volunteers near the home of Lieutenant-Colonel Crellin. Later inspections were all made by Lieutenant Governor Colonel Cornelius Smelt following his appointment in 1805.  The companies were supposed to drill regularly on two days of the week, but by 1805 attendance began to drop. This was a problem for the volunteer corps throughout the English kingdom and in June 1806 the rules throughout the kingdom were relaxed and the privates were paid for the drills they attended.  Finally, on December 29, 1809, the Northern Manks Volunteers were disbanded, although other corps, including the Southern Manx Volunteers, continued on for a number of years.[2]

Public House Owner

          George Cannon shows up on a list of public house owners in Peel. I don't know the date of the license, other than that it was sometime between 1780 and 1810, or where the establishment was (perhaps the residence, it was certainly large enough). The license was apparently required for those who wished to retail alcohol. It also required a bond for good behavior.

Various Births and Deaths   

            The Kirk German parish register records that on June 17, 1804, “Thomas Brean Son of George Cannon & Leonora Callister” was baptized. Thomas was born two days earlier on June 15th, the fifth child of Captain Cannon.

            Elinor Cannon, Captain Cannon's sixth child, was born on June 9, 1806

            Abigail Callister, the mother of Leonora, Captain Cannon’s wife, died March 21, 1807.

The Kirk German burial register recorded the burial of a “Child of Captn George Cannan” on April 10th1810. This is probably David. A second son named David, was born May 15, 1811. The parish records of Kirk German record that “David Son of Captn George Cannon & Leonora Callister” was baptized on May 19, 1811.

Death of Captain Cannon

            Captain Cannon died on July 19, 1811. I have a post dealing with his death.

Life after the Death of Captain Cannon

It was possible for the captains of slave trading ships to become wealthy. In addition to their wages, they usually received bonuses based on the value of a fixed number of slaves or a percentage of the gross slave sales.[3] Captain George appears to have been prosperous, but when he died at age 45, the financial circumstances of his family changed suddenly. Mother Leonora, now without an income, was left with five children: Immigrant George, who was 16, Daughter Leonora who was 14, Thomas, age 7, Elinor, age 5 and David, just two months old.  To make ends meet, Mother Leonora rented out their Peel home and moved into a smaller one. She also sent Immigrant George and Daughter Leonora out on their own to fend for themselves as well as to provide some additional financial help for her and the younger children.[4]

            A census was taken in Peel on May 9, 1814 by two reverends of the local parish and they determined that Peel had a population of 2,003: 535 male adults (ages 14 and older), 377 male minors, 731 female adults and 360 female minors. The people lived in 312 houses which were apparently numbered in topographical order.  In house number 128, perhaps a duplex, was a William Furnivall with a minor child and three female adults, and a Mrs. Cannon, with one adult male, three minor males, two adult females and two minor females. Just five houses away, in house number 133, was another Mrs Cannon, with one adult male, one minor male, three adult females and two minor females.[5]  These were the only Cannons listed in Peel. It appears that Mother Leonora was living in number 128. Immigrant George, age 19, was the male adult, Thomas and David were two of the three minor males, Mother Leonora and Daughter Leonora were the two adult females and Elinore was one of the two minor females. [Could John still have been alive and been the other minor male and could Ann have been alive and been the other minor female – athough she would have then been 14 by a couple of months?] Captain George’s mother, Eleanor Addy Cannon, was widowed and still alive, and may have been the occupant of number 133, perhaps with some of her children and grandchildren.

Death of Leonora Cannon

            Leonora Cannon, the wife of Captain Cannon, died on June 30, 1823. The probate record and confusing tombstone inscription follow:

2nd Bk   This is Affirmed to be the Last Will and Testament of Lenora Cannon Widow and _______ of the Late George Cannon of Peeltown deceased ----- who being of Sound Mind Memory and understanding --- did pronounce and declar the following words in presence of the Subscribing Witness Some short time previous to her decease and departed this life the 30th of June 1823.

Imfrimis – She hath devised and bequeathed unto her Loving and Dutifull daughter Lenora Cannon the whole of all her Goods and effects moveable and immovable be the of what kind or denomination _____ And lastly the appointed her said Daughter Executrix of this her Last Will  excluding any person or person that might Claim in ____ Will with a Legacy – according to Law

            The foregoing words were uttered and declared in presence of us.

Witness present
            John Corkill
            Ann Corkills

At a Chapter Court
holden in St Johns
Chapel of Nov 1823

Pledgors is sworn in Court in form of law and hath given pledges for the payment of Debts and Legacies namely John Corkill the [executor(?)] and Glen Caine, both of German. Probat_____________

Old Peel
St. Peter’s Churchyard
Monumental Inscriptions
Headstone no. 121
Facing west toward the clock tower (toward Church Lane),
It is 5th from the end on the left (south) side

To the memory of Leonora CANNON
alias CALLISTER wife of the subadjacent
Capt George CANNON who departed this
life on the 30th of June 1825
aged 48 years
also of their son Thomas who died
on the 10th day of Decr following
 aged 12 years.

 Death of Thomas Cannon

          Thomas Cannon, the fifth child of Captain Cannon, died on December 10, 1823.

 Death of Captain Cannon's Mother

          Eleanor Addy Cannon, Captain Cannon's mother, died on March 17, 1827, and was buried in Kirk German. 

George Cannon the Immigrant

Captain Cannon’s son, George Cannon the Immigrant, went to Liverpool where he worked as a carpenter and joiner (cabinet maker). Mother Leonora may have steered him away from the life of a seaman because of the long periods of loneliness and constant anxiety she felt while Captain Cannon was at sea.

Immigrant George married his second cousin, Ann Quayle, in St. Thomas Church, Liverpool, on October 24, 1825, about 14 years after leaving home. Ann was born on August 26, 1798, in Kirk German, Isle of Man, the third of eleven children born to John Quayle and Ellinor Callister. Her mother and Mother Leonora were first cousins. George was 30 and Ann was 27.  All of Immigrant George’s and Ann’s children were born in Liverpool.[6]

Daughter Leonora Cannon

Captain Cannon’s daughter, Leonora, went to England where she acted as a companion to a wealthy lady named Vail. Later she moved back to the Isle of Man and lived in Castle Rushen, in Castletown, with the family of Governor Cornelius Smelt.[7]

Castletown, ten miles southwest of Douglas, was the capital of the Isle of Man. It got its name from Castle Rushen, the fortress within it. Castle Rushen, named after St. Russin, one of the missionaries that settled in Iona in 563 A.D., was initially built in the 12th century, with a tower surrounded by a ravine, and was completed in the 14th century with an outer wall and gatehouse. Castle Rushen was the residence of the Lords of Man, until the revestment of 1765, and was then used by the Duke of Atholl until Lieutenant Governor Smelt was appointed in 1805 and took it as his residence.

Governor Smelt was described as “courteous, discreet, affable, yet firm and resolute” and in his constant disputes with the Duke of Atholl over administration of the island, he conducted himself “with great temper and singular discretion.” The Manx Museum Journal records that Smelt “stands high in Manx history as one who displayed great moral courage in difficult circumstances. His wisdom and fortitude in the long period during which the House of Keys and the Duke of Atholl fought their historic political battles were also evident.” Five years after Smelt’s death, the Manx people erected a formal stone monument in Castletown to honor him, the only governor so honored by the Manx people.[8]

While living with the Smelt family, Daughter Leonora “frequently met with many distinguished people from England.” One of them, a Mr. Mason, had a daughter that became a good friend. The Cannon Family Historical Treasury states that when Lord Aylmer, the new governor-general of Canada asked Mr. Mason to accompany him overseas as his private secretary, Mason’s daughter insisted that Leonora go with them as one of the family. At first Leonora refused to go, but then she had a dream which she interpreted as directing her to accept the offer. As Lord Aylmer was appointed governor general in 1830[9] and Leonora sailed to Canada in 1832,[10] Mason may have been called as private secretary after Lord Aylmer had already served for a period of time in Canada, or Leonora may have been inaccurate on the year she went to Canada.   

          Before Leonora left for Canada, she reasoned with her brother, George, to espouse religion that his soul might be saved. George had, on one occasion, remarked to her that Methodism could not satisfy him; that it was not according to the Bible, which he could prove to her. “But of what use is it for me to unsettle you in your faith; it gives you joy and satisfaction, and I cannot offer you anything better; but it would not satisfy me.”[11]

           The lives of George Cannon the Immigrant and Leonora Cannon, who later married John Taylor and became Leonora Cannon Taylor, open up a whole new avenue of family history.

[1] Taken from a list in Fred Palmer, Peel One: Peel Hill and Shore Road (Peel: Author’s imprint, 1950), found at http:/
[2] A. W. Moore, Speaker of the House of Keys, “The Northern Manks and the Southern Manx Volunteers,” Yn Lior Manninagh [“The Manx Book”], Vol. 4, pp. 96-110, a publication of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society, located at htm. 
[3] Manx Slave Traders, p. 90.
[4] Beatrice Cannon Evans and Janath Russell Cannon, Cannon Family Historical Treasury (George Cannon Family Association, 1967), pp. 13-19; “George Cannon (The Immigrant) and Ann Quayle” and “George Cannon and Leonora Callister” from
[5] Census of Peel-Town, 9 May 1814,
[6] Mirian Cannon Bennion, “Where the Cannon Family Came From and Why They Are in America,” a talk given at the Angus M. Cannon family reunion in Salt Lake City on July 22, 1957 (found at
[7] CFHT, pp. 32-33. In a letter to Robert Cannon from Priscilla M. Lewthwaite, dated August 25, 2007, she states that Cornelius Smelt left a will “in which he does name 2 of his servants but no mention of any Cannans, his children were married 1812, 1817, 1825 and one son died in 1819 aged 17 yrs. so if Leonora was a nanny it would have had to be early on when he arrived on the Island as by 1811 his children were mostly grown up. I have searched the Athol papers for anymore information on him to see if there were any official documents also the various indexes to see if he left any private papers/diaries etc. but there is nothing listed, they also checked the computer for me and apart from some biographical details there was nothing of help.”
[8] “A Millennium Portrait: Colonel Cornelius Smelt” in Manx Millenium 2000 AD, an Isle of Man Newspapers Publication, April 1999.
[9] Sir Matthew Whitworth-Aylmer, the 5th Lord Aylmer, was Governor-General of Canada between 1830 and 1835 and was commander of British military forces in North America as well as Lieutenant-Governor of Lower Canada. He had no previous civil administration or political experience and he was unable to pacify demands in Lower Canada for more responsible government. In 1834, the Assembly of Lower Canada passed 92 resolutions of grievance, including a demand that he be recalled. He was recalled to England in 1835. “Matthew Whitworth-Ayler, 5th Baron Aylmer” in Wikipedia located at Matthew_Whitworth-Aylmer,_5th_Baron_Aylmer; “General Sir Matthew Whitworth-Ayler, 5th Lord Aylmer” in
[10] CFHT, pp. 32-33. Another version, by Andrew Jenson, is that Leonora’s friend married a man named Bacon, a colonel in the British army, who received the appointment of Secretary to the governor of Canada. The friend got a promise from Leonora that when she married and went to Canada, Leonora would go with her. (Jenson, Andrew. LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Vol. 1, p. 42 – hereafter “LDS Bios”).
[11] LDS Bios, Vol. I, p. 43-44; Ann Cannon, Immigrant George and Ann’s daughter, stated that when Daughter Leonora joined the Methodists, her father told her he could “confound her religion in a short time, ‘but if you enjoy it, Nora, it is all right with me, the Gospel is not upon the earth, but it is coming.'" (CFHT, p. 159).

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